LINKS SUPERINTENDENT REPORT FOR MARCH 2013
We experienced one of the coldest March’s on record with an average daytime temperature of less than 3oC due to an extended period of cold easterly winds. We had snow which lay on the course on 6 different occasions and experienced a few hard frosts. It was also a very dry month with only one day where any rain was recorded.
The target on all 3 courses was to complete the winter work program and to get them ready for the start of the new golfing season. Due to the wetter weather earlier in the winter in meant that although all the winter projects were completed in time we were still turfing during the last week on March meaning that this turf hasn’t had the usual amount of time to take root and establish prior to the season resulting in a few of these areas being marked as G.U.R for a few weeks until such time as the turf has established and any gaps have filled in.
The greens on all 3 courses are looking and performing better than expected for this time of year and because of the cold winds and dry weather the surfaces are firm and the grass is very fine in texture resulting in very quick greens, indeed they have been similar all winter. Although we strive to maintain the surfaces like this throughout the year I just want to make the point that once the temperature starts to rise, especially from late April through to mid June, the growth naturally becomes more vigorous and the grass leaf becomes juicier which will most likely result in slower greens than at present even though cutting heights will be lowered and the rollers will be used on a regular basis.
Towards the end of the month we also commenced the work to install the new operating system for our irrigation network which involved digging up over 500 sprinklers on the Championship Course to carry out some rewiring and installation of new decoders. Once completed we will be the first facility in the world to have Hunter Irrigation’s latest control system, this will allow us to reduce run times, ensure the system is being used as efficiently as possible and give us a more accurate account on the actual amount of water we use.
WORK ON THE LINKS
The greens received an application of liquid seaweed early in the month to assist early season plant health and promote root growth. The monthly program of wetting agent and conditioner commenced during the last week of March as well as them being brushed, cut and rolled.
· Bunkers revetted at the 5th, 10th, 14th, 15th, 16th and 17th holes
· Area of rough between 10th and 11th holes contoured and turfed
· Bridge and burn wall work at the 1st and 17th holes
· Slab work next to the 1st tee
· Plugging divot scars from 3rd and 8th tees
· Young gorse planted between the 12th forward tee and the 7th tee of the Burnside
In preparation for the new season trafficked roughs were brushed, fairways were top dressed, bunkers were topped up with our new bunker sand (from Hugh King Quarry, Ayrshire), new yellow tee stones were installed and traffic routes around greens were solid tined with rubber crumb being worked into the holes.
The greens received a foliar nutritional conditioner spray at the beginning of the month to take advantage of any heat and sunlight we received and they were also given a light top dressing.
Bunkers were revetted on the 6th, 7th and 13th holes, traffic routes were verti-drained, turfing was completed on the 3rd/4th holes where bridge and contour adjustments had been made and previously agreed tree thinning took place to the left of the 7th hole.
Fairways were top dressed, bunkers were topped up, young birch trees planted on mound to right of 4th fairway and strimming new broom growth between 10 and 11 took place in preparation for chemical control.
Greens were star tined (8mm), received a top dressing, and were brushed, cut and rolled prior to being fed with a low nitrogen compound fertiliser. Tees were verti-drained, walkways were slit tined and the young trees to the right of the 13th holes were strimmed around to control the thick vegetation.
· The turfing on and around the 5th tee was completed and odd turf repairs were also carried out as required
· Fairways and new turf area were fed using a processed chicken litter fertiliser
· Pot holes on the boundary road were filled up using a mixture of sand/soil/stone which had arisen from jobs on all 3 courses
· The Buddon team were also very involved throughout March assisting the Burnside with verti-drain and turfing work and also with the irrigation work on the Championship.
Richard Windows from the STRI made his final official visit as part of the new holes project and gave us recommendations on nutritional inputs for the coming season with a target of having them playable for the start of next season. It will be a fairly intense program whereby the new holes will almost require a member of staff to be working on them full time to carry out all the required work. It will also mean a sizeable increase in the amount of fertiliser we will need to purchase; this will hopefully be covered within the current Course Maintenance Budget
Iron Play Area
The area to the south of the main practice area (junior area) has now been set up as an Iron only practice area where players can hit from turf to a distance of approx 230yds. Play is from East to West and access to it is by foot along the new path to the left of the practice ground.
Craig Boath and Allan Begg attended a one day course in Rabbit and Mole control organised by one of our suppliers.
4th April 2013